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Links to the New Forest Witches and to Gerald Gardner ?

The Exile

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The New Forest connections ? ......


This is a continuation of the ground offensive launched after a long pause. In the quest to find some sort of truth to the New Forest Witches and to Gerald Gardner's connection to it.



In the last research I proven that Monica English (then as Monica Barnes aka Mrs. Peter Earle Barnes) had some connection the the New Forest.


In the period of 1952 to 1953, Mrs. P. E. Barnes was a co- Master of the New Forest Beagles Hunt. But by 1953 her relationship with Peter Barnes crumbled and then she and Robert English left to Norfolk and got married there.


It is possible that Gerald Gardner met Monica in the New Forest in 1952-1953 or knew her some other way.



Then I discovered that Robert English's 1st wife, Valerie, and his then brother-in-law, Peter Weir, and mother-in-law, Margaret Stafford Robinson had a longer connection to the New Forest.


They were in the New Forest village of Burley. Burley is considered as a Witchy village today.


The widow Mrs. Margaret Stafford Robinson and her young children lived in Burley since the 1920's to 1940's. Burley is near Highcliffe and Christchurch and I would believe that the family would frequent those places for social and recreational reasons.


Mrs. Margaret Stafford Robinson died in 1943 in Burley. The home was sold and I thought that was the end of the family's connection to Burley.


That was what I knew about them before the pause.





Then with the new offensive launched I documented all the stuff to prove that the family lived in Burley and then I was able to break down the wall that prevented me from finding out about Peter Weir.



Peter Weir was born Peter Weir Stafford Robinson but after their father, Noel, was killed in France in WWI, Peter was called Noel Stafford Robinson.


In the early 1950's he was living in Fordingbridge another New Forest village.


In 1951 he legally changed his name to just "Peter Weir".


He got married in 1953 and had a son born in 1954.



He then lived in the New Forest village of Beaulieu in 1957.



Then the surprising thing. Which I call "the return of Peter Weir to Burley". This happened in 1958. They still owned the place in Beaulieu but then bought the place called Turf Croft cottage in Burley.



The family today still live in Burley today. so that makes 4 generation of the family living in Burley. And the current owner has a farm called Turfcroft Farms and they grow organic vegatibles and herbs.


Peter Weir was a retired solicitor and did some writings of books.



by 1965 or 1966, the marriage between Peter Weir and his wife crumbled and were divorced. Peter went to live in Beaulieu while the wife and son stayed in Burley.


The wife remarried in 1967.


In 1978 they found the body of Peter Weir in his cottage and died of .......




As I mentioned in another post that Monica's first husband was John Summersell Davis who died in 1945 at a young age. Recently some relatives of his, the nephew and niece of John Summersell Davis, have contacted me and mentioned some stuff about the family then.


That the family was spiritual and intutive. That will be another article. But the point being of this is that this was the 1940's to 1945 and John and Monica were described as spiritual and intutive. Long before Wicca was born so there was no wicca inffluence back then. It would suggest that Monica was a traditional Witch ?


Lois Bourne mentioned in her book that "Margo" (she didn't want to identify Monica by her real name) was a gifted Psychic.


I will make a post on that.



Links to the webpage -- Margaret Stafford Robinson and Peter Weir



Margaret Stafford Robinson formerly Johnston



Peter Weir




This is what I call the "western front" in my research of the New Forest connections.







Later is the Eastern Front offensive to be reported - the areas around Bricket Wood and Monica English's connections there and the Stafford Robinson family connection there.




Sorry about the ramblings ... I know most of you are already lost ... so this is sort of a lonely quest




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Sorry about the ramblings ... I know most of you are already lost ... so this is sort of a lonely quest


lol... Dont go there! its interesting research Exile.. Thanks for sharing... :thumbsup:

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I love following these connections. You might consider getting in touch with Paul Heston and reading through his Roots of Wicca book for a few more names to do some research on. I really do think Gardner knew some real witches, but that what he created was not traditional witchcraft because they stopped talking with him when he started publishing and going public. Some want to believe there is no such thing as hereditary witchcraft and that Gardner made the whole thing up, but that does not seem like the most likely answer, Ocaam's Razer and all would make me think there were some hereditary witches, just not an unbroken line all the way back to prehistoric lines. Witchcraft can be rediscovered or patched together from fragments over and over through out history. As some of us are living proof of today (all of us who aren't hereditaries!) Knowing more about the possible traditional witches he did know, tells us more about our past. And could help us remove the chaf from the wheat on what is his influence and what is older for those of us patching together from fragments.

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Thanks Oakbuchanan and Sarasuperid for the comments.



I agree with you Sara on there had to be some connection with Gerald Gardner with witches of the New Forest and elsewhere.


Also I think because he and his followers called it the "New Forest Coven" makes it harder to prove while on the other hand if we call it "New Forest Witches" it seems more possible that there was some. In my mind there was.



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Gardner did his best to make his Craft "Proper" - That ALONE would've turned a few people against him - because, well, many of the Old Craft, who had been in it longer than he'd been alive, would have been denied initiation by Gardner. That he went around calling himself a witch, and doing interviews probably ticked off his initiators, and when he deigned to completely reform the ritual "format" , I highly doubt that did him any favors.

I don't doubt he was initiated into an old coven, but I also don't doubt he decided to reinvent the wheel and enrage his own kindred enough that it severed him from them to this day.

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From the New Forest to the area of Brickett Wood....


The ground offensive on the Eastern front opens ....


Sorry but I always like to use military talk in my research, make it more like a battle, you win some you loose some, just like in research



From my older researches on Monica English, I find that her maternal grandfather, Henry Gibson, the redeveloper of several of the London Suburban areas, been living in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire since the 1920's until his death in 1951.


Monica English was living in at the grandfather's home in Rickmansworth when she was 18 years old and first married John Summersell Davis in 1939.


Rickmansworth is only 6 or 7 miles from Brickett Wood.




During my current research on Mrs. Margaret Stafford Robinson's family of Burley, New Forest, Hampshire, I then started to check out who were her siblings, of the Johnston family.


She was born Margaret Chamber Johnston in Ireland and was a daughter of Sir John Barr Johnson. He was a business man and involved in the politics of Londonderry of the 19th century and early 1900's. He was the mayor of Londonderry and becamed knighted.



So Mrs. Margaret Stafford Robinson was a daughter of a knight. She lived in the New Forest village of Burley from the 1920's to 1940's. As I mentioned before Burley is a small village and it was only 6 or so miles away from Highcliffe and Christchurch. It is possible that because she was a daughter of a Knight and a War widow that she may have been invited to social events or fund raising events in Christchurch and probably crossed paths with Dorothy Clatterbuck, etc.



Could the son, Peter Weir, who dabbled in writing a novel and a play, been to the Christchurch theatre in the 1930's-1940's where Gerald Gardner was at one time and got inspired some what by that place ? ....





Anyway we now move to the eastern front.



When checking out the siblings of Mrs Margaret Stafford Robinson, I found out she had a brother name Major John Alexander Weir Johnston and then I was shocked to find out where he lived.


In the 1920's to 1930's Major Johnston and his family were living in London. But starting around 1935, Major Johnston purchased and the family moved to the Flaunden House, Flaunden, Hertfordshire.



This place is near Rickmansworth and about 7 miles away from Brickett Wood.


Major Johnston lived in Flaunden House from 1935 to about 1957 at the time of his death.




In the memorial service for Major Johnston in 1957, Peter Weir and Valerie Witherby, the nephew and niece attended the service. Both Peter and Valerie were living in the New Forest. As mentioned before, Valerie was Robert English's first wife before he married Monica English.



Now Major John Alexander Weir Johnston had only one daughter, Isobel Barbara. In 1939 she married Charles Herbert Wright.


Charles Herbert Wright was a director of a number of the Rubber Estate Agency group of companies. He was a Second Lieutanant in the arm forces in WW II.


His father was Sir Herbert Wright of Brunlea, Chalfont St. Giles, Buckinghamshire.



Chalfont St. Giles is only a few miles from Rickmansworth and several miles from Brickett Wood.




Now the significance of Sir Herbert Wright the father-in-law of Major Johnston's daughter was that he was a heavy weight in the world of Rubber Plantation.


He spent his life writing and was an expert on the subject.



If you read about him in on the webpage. He sounds like someone that Gerald Gardner may have crossed paths with or communicated. Even perhaps with his son Charles Herbert Wright who was director of several Rubber Estates..




Major John Alexander Weir Johnston was born in Ireland and was a soldier in the British Army and went up to the rank of Major.



Monica English's father, John Barrett, was born in Ireland and was a soldier in the British Army and went up to the rank of second Lieutanent.


John Barrett was living in London and was an assistant and later the Patent Examiner at the Patent office in London. He later went to school and became a Professor of Mathematics.




Still got to type up about another sibling of Mrs. Stafford Robinson and Major Johnston. A sister who married a Mathematic Professor and I believe went to London.



Could this be another link to the Johnston family? Could John Barrett been an associate or even a student of this other mathematic proffesor ? And therefore Monica English through her father knew about the Johnston family long before she met Robert English ?


And these are two zones of interest with Gerald Gardner, the New Forest and the area around Brickett wood, could he have known the Stafford Robinson family and the Johnston family?



Well Gerald Gardner did met Monica English somewhere along the line.




Links to the pages added to the webpage concerning the Stafford Robinson and Johnston family







Sir John Barr Johnston


Major John Alexander Weir Johnston


Isobel Barbara Weir Johnston


Sir Herbert Wright




Mrs Margaret Stafford Robinson formerly Johnston


Peter Weir






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Fascinating ! It's very plausible that paths crossed, or names where " dropped " in Military circles and or Social circles... even though there was a War, ending... and re-construction of lives lived at that time, were finding connections.



Great stuff !





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Fascinating ! It's very plausible that paths crossed, or names where " dropped " in Military circles and or Social circles... even though there was a War, ending... and re-construction of lives lived at that time, were finding connections.



Great stuff !









Thank you for the comment Celtic Gypsy




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The email extracts from the Summersell Davis family.


I haven't heard from the contacts from the Summersell Davis family in a while so there is probably no more information coming my way from them.


It always seem to happens this way to me. People would contact me and would send information and then vanish like

thin air before it seems like there were more information to follow.




As I mentioned before Monica English's first husband was John Summersell Davis. They were married in 1939 and he died in 1945.



Email extracts:


(She is writing because she found the website article that I made on Monica English).




From the 1st Email:


I knew very little about my Uncle except the devastation that was left in the family after he died at 34 years old.


I am astounded to have read this, not surprised that Monica was a spiritual artist, my Father was spiritual and so was John


Feel so moved having read this.





2nd & 3rd Email:


My Grandmother , John's mother ,was intuitive, and from their days in Burma took an interest in Buddhism , which carried down the family ( I am a Buddhist and that side of the family leans towards mysticism!)


Some of us do have "other world abilities". I work in the esoteric business !




Herbert (John's father) had a double 1st from Oxford, and he was, I understand an "adrenaline junky" despite losing the site of his eye , he would insist on riding his Motorcycle and that was the end of him.


Herbert wanted his children to be "high fliers " and he was a hard act to follow.




I am not sure John was in WW2, he had recently come back from working with an Oil company in Burma I think after some issue there, I believe he was asked to leave, but I don't know for sure.


But John at 31 by then was probably considered too old.




We tend all to be artists and scientists, or marry artists or scientists.



(I asked since John Summersell Davis had a brother named David Herbert Summersell Davis a scientist in South Africa, if did Monica been to South Africa?)


Yes he was well known , "Dr Rat Davis"!!!


Yes Monica definitely went there.





Not much from these emails but the family mentioned that they have intuitive abilities and spiritual.




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Map of the New Forest

Here is a map of the New Forest for the southern part. As you can see Highcliffe and Christchurch are right below the New Forest in the faded part of the map.









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